The "good": great dives at shark junction; another dive at a georgous reef with grooves, coral tunnels, and great sea life; free pick-up and drop-off at our hotel; and GREAT photos by Melinda. I didn't think we'd be doing a shark junction dive (no feeding), but we really liked it and were glad when we dove the same spot the next day. The photos were especially appreciated because I forgot to pack my dive camera. Brilliant. But Melinda gave us great shots of sharks and a ray that came thru the same area and shots of my kids diving that are priceless. I had no idea the dives would come with great photos. I suppose by diving shark junction twice in two days, we missed some other reef, but doubling up on the sharks ended up fine since dive two came with the ray and the first dive at the junction included three moray eels along with all the sharks.
The "bad", which also turned out to be quite good: Melinda struck us initially as curt (probably didn't help that my call to confirm arrangements was made from a loud car crowded with friends en route to a fish fry) but we really warmed to her. She's professional, safe, and maybe only as curt as needed to herd the cats. Also, it took much longer than we expected to get dropped off at our hotel after day 1 of diving because we were the third group dropped off and had to wait quite awhile. By the time we left, we were wishing we had called a cab. But then Melinda made sure we were the first to get dropped off the next day. So, it all evens out and the pick up and drop offs saved us $75-$100 in cab fares. As I said, what initially seemed "bad" turned out quite fine.
Regarding certification, they certified two divers in our group who came with referrals - one SSI and one from a PADI school. They handled both and we're able to issue cards on the spot with SDI certification.
One other comment, we had a disparate range of divers on the boat. Unless you're filling up the boat you might expect that. Melinda and Fred, in my opinion, did a good job balancing everyone's needs. For example, they told the divers getting certified that they did not have to dive all the way to the bottom; they only needed to get below 20 feet for 20+ minutes to be certified. Of course, the divers went to full depth but the point is they were encouraged to dive within their comfort zones. Experienced divers were given as much time as they needed to make good use of their air.
Diving with Grand Bahama Scuba was a highlight of a great trip to the Bahamas and we hope to be back for more. Why a four vs five star review? Keep your expectations reasonable...this is not a luxury experience...it's a dive boat, and a very good one at that. If you're trying to decide on Unexso vs this, you should feel very comfortable picking Fred and Melinda. I haven't gone with Unexso and can't compare the two, but I like what this family business delivers.
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